Penguin Peak's snow-crowned summit
Though Penguin Peak is not very large by Alaskan standards, it makes a good half-day trip, especially if the weather is right and you can enjoy the view. Since the peak rises right up out of Turnagain Arm, it seems to catch a heavier load of winter snow than other mountains in the area, and deep snow will remain in the bowl and on the summit well into the summer. Park at the Bird Creek trailhead and just keep to the right; you'll climb up a grassy avalanche runoff and then up into Penguin's broad, tree-filled northwest gully. The gully flattens out toward the top as you reach the bowl, and I'd probably head onto the right-hand ridge, which'll give you a great view of the Arm for the rest of the hike. From here on out, the climb is pretty straightforward. However, there IS a lot of snow up there, and it's sometimes corniced. Penguin is known for its avalanches, so exercise a little caution. But as long as you're careful, Penguin has a lot to offer. It's the best place I've found for summer sledding, which is an absolute thrill. Cafeteria trays work great on the hard-packed snow, and if you do it right you can probably sled a thousand feet down the bowl. Just don't get going too fast or out of control, and don't hesitate to bail out if you need to.
|Photo Location:||North_America: United_States: Alaska: Anchorage_Area_Rock___Ice: Chugach_Mountains|